Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard hit the road to get the Conservatives’ message over on tax and benefits.
The MP said that although Blackpool is said to be the town set to be worst hit by the Coalition’s cuts, he said it was better for people to have independence rather than spend the rest of their lives on benefits.
He said: “It’s about human dignity, a lifetime on benefits is not a meaningful existence.
“There is a myth that there are no jobs out there but in my constituency 2,500 new jobs were created last year in the private sector.”
When asked how the Government would help those people get off benefits and into work, he said the Government’s work programme gave targeted help and they were targeting young people with training in the right kind of skills.
“I know Blackpool has a lot of people who are less well off but benefits are not a life style option,” he said.
“I want them to have a route out of benefits that is fair to them and fair to the taxpayers who fund those benefits.”
He added that their main message was that thanks to income tax cuts 3,000 people in his constituency now did not pay income tax.
He said: “Its not about rich and poor its about fairness.”
However, Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said the Conservatives were doing nothing to help people in Blackpool.
He said: “It’s a sign of desperation for the Government that in the week they have been slammed by the IMF for not doing enough to help Britain’s economic recovery that they have sent out vans and are forcing their back benchers to peddle their message.”
He also pointed to figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies showed that taking all the Government’s tax cuts and welfare benefits cuts into account the average family would be worse off by £899 in 2013/14.
“The Work Programme is a joke,” he added.
“Around two in 100 people on it have got full time employment and in Blackpool its worse than that.”
Changes to the benefits system
The Government announced a change from a national Council Tax Benefit scheme to schemes administered at local authority level from April 1 this year.
The changes had two effects – it meant working age people who were currently receiving Council Tax Benefit have been required to pay more from that date.
It also meant people on benefits who have not been required to pay any Council Tax to that point have now had to start paying.
The changes have not affected pensioners provided their circumstances have stayed the same since the scheme was introduced.
When letters started dropping through the doors of those affected in Blackpool, it sparked anger.
In one day, the council received more than 4,500 calls from people concerned about the changes.
Council bosses said there had been considerable consultation with residents about the changes prior to their introduction.